Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Rocker's BIO - Imagine That

Not Rockers with guitars. . .old Rocking chairs.


'The Rocker', by DG Hudson


If inanimate objects could talk, we could ask from whence they came. This post illustrates the attachment some of us have for the history of an object. Objects can inspire wonder, motivate research, and later provide fodder to be used in writing. This chair, The Rocker, is one of those objects for me.

The seat is dark green leather, the wood could be maple or oak. It’s dated by the antique store as 1850s vintage. (The American Civil War took place between 1861 - 1865.) The wear is more evident in the middle of the rockers, but the sturdiness of the chair's curves show its hidden strength. The original seat is long gone, the leather one was added by a friend. A wide headboard and tall back provide support for the head and shoulders of an adult. The low arms seem designed for the ease of holding a small child. 

Due to its venerable age and for its own protection, The Rocker was hidden in the bedroom during the rambunctious years of our kids. One wooden armchair provided an early warning of what could happen, when it suffered structural damage after a backwards fall.

Was The Rocker created by a loving father before or during the Civil War? Did a mother or a young helper use this chair to soothe a fretful child as the 19th century  turned into the 20th? How many children have been rocked into pleasant rest or heard fanciful stories of hidden worlds in this very chair?

 

'The Rocker' back view, by DG Hudson



Did a Victorian mother rock in a similar chair while she waited for the daughter and her escort to return? Did the girl who danced as a flapper wait in the chair for her beau to come by, while reading one of the new serials?

Did someone write letters in this chair during the war years? Where was The Rocker during the Depression? Stored or sitting on a front porch? How did it get to be in the respected furniture dealers' lot in Canada? Stored and shipped around, the chair could have come from England or eastern Canada. The possibilities are endless in my imagination. 
Purchased in an antique furniture dealers' store, The Rocker was my reading chair when we first discovered it, before it became the primary means of inducing sleep in those under the age of two. The Rocker, if it is from the 1850s, is about 163 years old now. It's still rocking.


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Do you have rocking chairs, old or modern? If rocking chairs aren't your style, do you collect other objects with historical value?

This post was inspired by Ella's Edge "Do you have a favorite chair?". Thanks Ella, for stirring those memories.

Please share your thoughts in the comments and thanks for dropping by.

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References:

old (less than 100 years) or antique rocking chairs (greater than 100 years)

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/83305-my-rocking-chair-i-cant-identify?in=180 Collectors Weekly photo that's similar

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/furniture/rocking-chairs/stories Varieties of antique and old rocking chairs.

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24 comments:

  1. I love your post and your chair is beautiful!
    You did a wonderful job telling the chair's potential story...I once wrote another post about a plate I found, in a similar manner! I think we see beyond the chair, the plate, perhaps the dish and the spoon~ I think we are kindred spirits~ Perhaps our ancestors sat in this very chair ;D I love your post~

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    1. Thanks, Ella. We may be kindred spirits - I agree. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  2. I think about stuff like that too. I've spent many afternoons browsing in antique stores and wondering who the original owners of the items might have been.

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    1. Hi, LG, i love browsing in antique stores, and I've got a few hats I found that way. Sometimes you're there at the right time. . .

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  3. My parents have a rocking chair in their livingroom. I like it, can't help but rock in it. There is also an antique one with caning for the seat and back, at least they used to have one like that. I love antiques and antique stores!

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    1. My husband of the north thought I might miss the rocking chairs I grew up with. . .

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  4. I have several antiques, passed down through the years. My rocking hand, on the other hand, is modern, and is actually a glider, I guess. I enjoyed the tale of your rocker.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. Gliders are nice, too, and some find them smoother than rocking.

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    2. The glider is very smooth. I just saw my typo up there: rocking hand. Sigh. My mom has an antique rocker that was my grandma's, and her family's before that. We don't know the history beyond that. I wonder if my great-grandpa actually made it or purchased it.

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  5. It would be nice to hear some of the stories old rocking chairs would tell if they could talk. I have a favorite rocking chair I used when my children were babies, but I think I'm the first owner, so its stories would be my own.

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    1. Take care of that chair, Sherry, so it will last through another generation.

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  6. Hey DG, I have an old rocking chair too. I love it! It's not nearly as old as yours, this one's probably from the 1960's. I love antiques, especially if the seller can fill in some of the history of the piece. Furniture used to be made to last forever, or close to it. These days it's built to be replaced.

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    1. I like oak furniture. Rocking chairs have always agreed with me, they calm the angst.

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  7. Beautiful chairs. I wish I had one now. The seat in my study beside me is an arts and crafts chair with oak arms and an arched woven cane back. I love old furniture.

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    1. I agree, and if we protect this furniture, who knows how much longer they can survive? Some things are made to last.

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  8. very cool chair---i love your wondering about it's former uses--it's always the back story, that interests me the most :)

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    1. I'd love to know the history of some old furniture, old houses, etc. How that burn got there, who was the original owner? Backstory does count.

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  9. If only this rocker could speak -- or any piece of antique furniture, for that matter. And if only our written works could be enjoyed as much by future generations... My grandother has an old rocker in her Maine cabin, and it's held up well over the years. I should find out about its history.

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    1. I'm sure you could wrap a story around that rocker if you wanted to, Milo. Glad you remembered your grandmother's rocker, they used to be a staple in a lot of homes.

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  10. I have a rocker from Cracker Barrel. I got it from my school district when I retired. It has a plaque on it with my name and retirement year. It is a fun gift. I am rocking into retirement. :)
    Thanks for sharing. Hope you will stop by my blog to if you get a chance.

    Mary Hill
    http://mary-anderingcreatively.blogspot.com/

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    1. I love Cracker Barrel. I remember all those rocking chairs out front. I will visit your blog!

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  11. I love looking at antiques and wondering what the story behind them are.I wrote a short story on my blog about watches I saw in an antique shop in Turkey,so many pocket watches,so old and for sale,why? Love your rocker.
    Is Anyone There

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    1. My hubs loves pocket watches, he'd love that place.

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  12. Beautiful piece D.G. - it's definitely inspiring! There are so many points of view to consider history from, and therefore so many ways of approaching stories, fiction and nonfiction alike.

    I look at the "glider" I purchased as part of the new furniture coming in for baby preparation when my son was born, and it makes me miss good old fashioned rocking chairs. Quality rocking chairs like yours described here are a rare breed it seems to me. Having been rocked to sleep in them and later had a child-size one to rock in or rock my stuffed animals in (I was not much of a doll girl), I miss them.

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